Thirteen Ways of Looking in the Mirror


Within thirteen desperate glances,

The only trembling thing

Was the eye of the mirror.



I cast three shadows,

Like a light

In which there are three mirrors.



The mirror laughed at the silent tears,

It was an image of the emptying.



My shadow and myself

Are two.

My shadow and myself and a mirror

Are two.



I do not know what I’m seeing—

The chaos of the broken

Or the chaos of transformation,

The mirror telling

Or just a lie.



Air conditioner filled the room

With ghostly figures.

The vortex of the mirror

Sucked it, in and out.

The fear

Glimpsed in the chasm

An undesirable calling.



O cruel men of Austin.

Why do you dream of breaking the glass?

Do you not see how the mirror

Screams into the soul

“Of the women about you?”



I know painful voices

And repressed, unimaginable nightmares;

“But I know, too,”

That the mirror is to blame

For what I know.


When the mirror dimmed out of view,

It opened doors

To two of many spirals.



At the sight of mirrors

Blocking paths to exits,

Even the guardians of safety

Would panic inside.



He did cartwheels over Texas

With a large gun.

Twice, a love left him,

“In that he mistook”

The silhouette of his pistol

For mirrors.



The ocean is roaring.

The mirror must be crashing.



It was midnight all day every day.

She was singing

And she was going to sing.

The mirror hid

Behind the curtains.



*This poem is a parody/imitation of Wallace Steven’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

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After the Storm

Purple thunder and Red rain

change and Blue jitter calm

the Black clouds part

hint of transformation

embers welcome a glass of wine and stone

her flesh – new – welcomes

the light. ray of a

warning from the south

disregard and Pass

into the wind

These Wings Will Not Be Broken

new paranoia’s slip – ignored

she never was a Butterfly

wings made of steal – the Phoenix opens her eyes and sings.

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An image between two mirrors – bouncing soul left to right – right to left – vortex spinning

Vertigo and drowsy in words of make believe lovers

The doorway opens

And in walks the black and the white ready to pounce to rip or to rest

Can’t take a smoke outside – can’t take a smoke inside – can’t take a smoke

Though in a faint memory of coffee and notebooks a smoke is readily available

Always readily available – lips can suck and blow words

Long before the moon reaches beyond sight- long after the moon reaches beyond sight

Sleeping poet does not sleep

Does not feel poetry in her veins does not feel music in her soul does not feel touch on her skin

Trapped in the vortex of the spirit sucking images

Laughing and screaming from across walls.

This girl has gone mad.

                                          She most certainly has.

But she will sleep on it – will eventually close her eyes

Only to wake to the Dead.

Relish in the language and words and words and more words

Building a path for her to escape this fucked up town.

And she will never look back.

This was merely a pause that shook and broke.  An Earthquake of sorts that did not crack the

Mirrors smiling at endless hallways.

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Dear Muse

Waiting for the Nyquil dream to kick in, dear Muse, wondering if you bare grudges of invisibility waiting patiently for a song – wondering if you are ever seen or felt beyond so much brick and cement – pills and bills and pills and fear and more pills and bullshit – or alone and cold as I often feel – do you hate and cringe do you

feel absolute apathy abhor absolutes and apathy absolutely with the wreck and the torment of Time in waste- Time in limbo- paralyzed Time – Time in reverse- Time rapidly twisting and weaving forward to collapse the imprints of your footsteps beneath mine.  Dear Muse do you hate

the fancies chased – the rabbits chased – the garbage chased – the tyrants chased – the nightmares chased -the memories chased then locked behind a metal door – the rain might taste like Freedom if you were only let outside the machinery once in a while… dear Muse…the rain must taste like Freedom…even if it has become polluted – it still falls from a place where we can only dream or destroy – never conquer…. Just hope…. are you the song of Hope?

Can you see the stars beyond this filthy town? Can you see the stars within this filthy town?  Can you see the stars or shall we create them?  This time I will listen to what you have to say.  What color would you like the stars to be? We can paint them a color no one has ever seen – though you know I prefer black

Tethered to me I wonder

If you feel alone

If you see beyond

If you know

I didn’t mean to bury you alive.

Not in this.  Not in my prison.

I thought I was alone in here and I would have never built such an evil minefield maze surrounded by metal and impermeable stone had I known I wasn’t alone in here – had I known you were caressing me

I wonder if you know, do you know, do you know, do you know, you must know the number 13 must come from you and 5 is your love

So long neglected you stood in my shadows gently running your fingers through my hair waiting for me to sing to you to sing of you to sing for you to sing with you- our voices melting into one in heat and in ice in fluid copulation – souls intertwined to a single note that means…


Dear Muse

in space and Time I have looked for your essence in my thoughts – disregarding the beauty of your individuality- single substance – fire and butterflies locked in my concrete cage you fade into a corner – unrecognized and isolated – yet hands always on my skin hands always in my hair hands always cradling my face hands on my thighs hands beneath my clothing hands in my veins hands pulling me deep into a coma sleep – there in isolation never alone always with you.  We never speak. I thought you were me.

Do your bones ache as mine do? Do you feel every cut?  Every bruise?

in attempts to make you me I have not studied the flecks of gold in your eyes or the softness of your fingertips – the calming taste of your kiss – soft lips pressed together breathing air into my lungs – the way you penetrate through the outer layers of my flesh deeper than any lover could ever hope to travel

Dear Muse I have forgotten that when your tongue is in my mouth it is indeed your tongue and not my own – filling me with inspiration – limbs wrapped around my body – the soft plump freedom of your breasts caressing my back – your saliva coating my teeth – it is your heaven I thirst for when my mouth is parched and deserts form in the droughts of my body.

Whose arms belong to whom? Your soft calves? My hair? Our lips? My fingertips? Your pulse? breath, sweat, tears, fluids flowing from entrance to exit – heavy and hot – light and cleansing

We live in this filth together – you and I – my most devoted lover – overlooked loyal angel – violet kisses – we are…

And the doubt and the hate and the fear and the cowering and the submission and the hiding and the running and the crying and the pills and the rape and the shoulders falling to the floor

must have confused you my Muse.

So let us rise. Rise. Rise. Rise.  I burn it all down – let it fall into ashes and spread through the world like so much dust settling in other’s prisons.  Microscopic ashen hopes rise. Rise. Rise. Rise.

Dear Muse – you and I – from the ashes we spread our wings and fly

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One More Dance

Just one more dance

though my feet are clumsy

and my lips refuse to part

my eyes will tell you where to lead me.

Place your hands around my waist

and remind me that not all touch spells danger

let me waltz with you

a moment of spinning and living

laughing and melting to the notes of an ancient time.

I promise to trust you for just one dance

Let me be human if only for one song.

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The Professor

She is humble smiles and sniffles

carries a voice that does not demand

merely asks a question

Do these words move you?

They are not her own but she wants you to see the angels

in the gutters and Whitman in a button

yellow smoke billowing out beyond the page

until eyes survey the inhabitants of a crowded


Where are the angels?

words meaning nothing and everything – all that there is

or was – not and meant—a taste of freedom

in an image

the voice of a poet reading his own lines

reminding us of the mud that floods the banks of

the great Mississippi

winding down through the south

Is Texas in the South?

Syllables and Metaphors

a poem you may not have read

she loves the words: “Omissions are not accidents”[1]

and when everything is omitted

exploration is endless.

For SH.

[1] “Omissions are not accidents” – Line from Marianne Moore

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The Path

It’s happening.

Heart racing – pounds – thump thump – thump thump – thumb CRASH!

Behind matter exploding transforming dividing


Rotting apples and circles of a copper dance.

A spark.

Flames and rocks.


In this moment…

Right now….

In the spinning sensation of burning anxiety

I see.

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Keep Writing

the dream is not real




time swings an axe and suddenly

a wound inside a mouth heals to a sacred scar

tongue in box – ironic and defeated

“I’m in here!” she screams, “Let me out bitch!”

sacred scar says she talks too much

and something in the way a balloon can expand only to the point of bursting

something in that sudden transformation parallels

familiar nostalgia of inhaling and exhaling

the fingers agreed that her tongue had to go

it ruins


will ruin

the dream

this world is only built for dreams

one does not need a tongue to step into the light

and smile at the sun

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new morning

throb and burn and spin


the white takes a nap on your tongue – the vertigo denial

spin into the chemical dissolve

and the morning is new: fresh, calm, chilly, Loud yet simply Silent.

patters of children’s feet rushing down concrete stairs

towards yellow metal boxes full of hopes and dreams

I used to sit in that box – alone with the panging of clatter and laughter

knowing when metal and metal collide

hope explodes through the air violent – expanding – spinning – burning the clouds

and falls like white ash on the center of an outstretched tongue

to dissolve into


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“Never have I ever…”

Never have I ever placed my naked flesh in the arms of

the gnarled and crooked branches of

A man’s arms


did not possess the power to rip off pieces of my soul – bit by bit – as though peeling off price tags from his most recent happy purchase from an electronics store.

I am NOT a commodity…

Though America has told me to waste half my life as though I were nothing more

than a walking pussy waiting for someone to put a rock on my finger.

I was a child that wrapped her arms around trees

Thrust her hands into the mud without worrying about

getting my purple dress dirty –

Allowing sweet brown filth to take a nap in the beds of my


I collected rocks and hid them under my pillow –

Carefully giving them names because they were alive and special.

Begging to grow up so that I could take the earth and

my love to a safer place – one where I didn’t have to

hide my rocks because no one would have the power to tell me

that I was not allowed to love whatever I found


What makes anyone think that I would wear a rock on my hand in exchange for birthday cock-sucking and a better tax return?

To lay in a cold bed next to someone who never knew me beyond

an investment – bitter ideology – and the name they force me to wear like a crown when it is nothing more than the removal of my own identity.

I still collect rocks – they are safer in my bedroom

than if they were to be left outside –waiting to be used and

discarded as something without value because they sparkle less

than the ones that you wear in your ears.

I loved every inch of those ears until I realized that they hold nothing between them

But fence lines.

Never have I ever

sat under the stars with someone I loved

and felt them dying less than they are right now

Each breath

Like syrup and heavier

than the one before…

We are infinite and we are empty

We are lost and we cling to one another because we hold so much

Unused love in the overflowing rivers of our veins.

Clinging to the memories we create – created – will never create…                                                           allowing others to dictate what those creations should be

poems never written

broken hearts never allowed to ache

tears never being born

life never lived

forgetting that tomorrow we will die and not even our memories

will sustain the timespan it takes for light to travel to this moment and momentarily twinkle

for our decaying organs to behold in moments of pure awe.

If anyone can remember what it was to feel


Never have I ever

mastered the fear that lines my skeleton like a cage

Shaking my bones from the birth of my dreams

To the resurrection of my nightmares

These metal bars that wrap around my soul like an electric barbed wire fence

Shock me into

Multidimensional views of the coercion of humanity’s consciousness

Hold me in place – paralyzed and aware

Of the destruction all around me.

I have searched for the key to this cage

Under rocks

Under bridges

Under pillows

Under clothes

In the pockets of fraying cardigan sweaters

In-between the lines of poets and philosophers

In the eyes of every person who ever lied and said

That they truly loved me for who I am and not what I                                                                                                                                                           could give them.

The key they say – dissolves sweetly under the tongue

Helps you sleep better too.  Easier breathing.  Less hoping

for a better world.  Just sleep and forget that you

Care a little bit too much sometimes.

Never have I ever believed them.

Never have I ever let them convince me to love

Just a little bit less

Never have I ever let anyone convince me to put my rocks back outside.

But I take the pills – close my eyes and fall numb to the bleeding panic-

the plague of sight that shatters my heart like a mirror that reflects the torture of minds

every second of every last molasses breath I take

it could be my last

though I wish it were

Never have I ever allowed those wishes to stop me

from dreaming.

Dedicated to Jeremiah Walton: The poet who dared the world to write a “never have I ever poem.”  I decided to take the challenge.  Thank you.

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to put

pebbles in

my pockets and go

for a swim in that deep river.

The sun casting shadows through the trees extremities –

those crooked arms and hands wet, yet still dry – twirling my hair – I sink into forever.

and then come the dreams -so effortless and fluvial! My flesh floats away with my tongue and my eyes – my heart and my soul dance in the current –

forever singing songs for the lives that mourn upon the banks – meditating on the elixir of that which keeps them walking on dry land.

I want them to taste my love in their parched throats – fill their veins with revived hopes and courage –

Fighting for the river and fighting for the trees –

I quench them with revolution.

Flow through desire.

We sing songs




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There is

Always hope.

But he doesn’t see

The contradictions in his eyes.

There has to be a way to break this grim paradox

and release the minds of those enslaved to the world we have created for enslavement.

Nature is screaming desperation floods upon the concrete slabs that have stolen the surface of her skin for unconsented pleasured waste.

Destruction in its masculine frame walks her surface and forgets to hide its crooked smile while it plants the seeds for the poisoned apple trees.

I look to him as though he has some magic key and he wants me to unlock the door

Because he carries the truth like a wheeled wooden board –

the paradox in his two hands

And nature told me

to listen

to his




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direct this

shadowed emptiness.

Sleeping revolutionary-

nature dips her fingertips into this fragile heart

awakened by cries of something dying beyond realms of corporeal reality

the mind struggles to find the truth rewritten by a thousand lost souls in a world that seems to be destined for its own bitter destruction

within the walls of knowledge lies those secrets that were never hidden – wrapped in so much back and forth that children forgot the names of their mother’s mothers and of their father’s countless victims passing onto another

generation of coffins that have been built and stored in warehouses– but there is no longer space in the ground to bury tomorrow’s dead

the sun does not shine in this new abstract reality where we found our safe escape

it drinks our honeyed souls and we lost our will to see

trees only grow outside in nature

we live lost within


is there



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I thought
the only thing
missing was
This Salt
works hard enough.
The real question is
will I honestly know
this will be worth the effort.

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I can’t recall the perfect hideout…
but considering a tree to climb
followed by plans to stay away from your demands.
My quest, consisting of remains unfulfilled.
(I had better luck in the dream world).
Finding Space— inspired. Private and Warm.
Welcome relative strangers.
Scrutinize their potential…
I was negotiating space for these sensitive negotiations.
The wars with territories are sometimes redrawn.
I rest still following the world’s hurricanes.
So precious.
I hope you have a little hope.
If not, find it or
Keep climbing into the dark sky.

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Believe in Freedom…
Khaki street fighter battling an independent rubber bullet-
an eye of hope that would lead to Revolution.
Repression injured the protests
dominated men with religious agendas.
Abandoned society.
It seems like we died too young and not too independent.
Dreamed of making connections with something to do with culture.
Opened and started Revolutions.
Change. Conflict.
When you say somebody faded…exhausted now
from Freedom and justice running in circles.
The enemy may turn against our crumbling buildings and
I walk.
I remember.
I pause.
I admire hidden signs announcing that this building is
About devout characters.
The way.
My way between crawling and selling my soul
choked pedestrians
This is the contradiction-severe-profane.
A singer.
A carouser.
The streets grow holy from sex during daylight,
The Revolution still on display.
Former walls of cinderblocks pushed apart.
A broken door that will not shut.
Machine gun in the street.
Metal monsters of debris.
And the power button beneath the calm.
The people saying: “Cover the walls”
And I begin to imitate them.
High and soft from evolved streets.
I often feel more scattered.
I’m invited to conversations with preconceived notions.
Yeah…a little bit crazy…but
This is the Revolution releasing the poor.


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displace liberty
located in the storm
reaching out to find
how lives
move forward
nimble in nature
always moving

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Walking Alone at Night (Ghazal #2)

Lost melody breaks sunset, fractured song implies sorrow.
Frail echoes for stars, the eavesdropping moon espies sorrow.

Pained wails fill dark forest, marking time with catatonic grace
vibrations of sobs paint sky black concealing night: disguise sorrow.

Lonely feet stumble to pale clearings washed heartache with storms.
Dancing in moist fading light, journey paused denies sorrow.

“Where shall I find my vanishing heart last hidden, afraid of the dark?”
“Crushed and fed to the vultures on an infinite night,” replies sorrow.

Returning to the safety of trees, song climbing canopies of lament.
Tanya moves alone down path worn of gloom and quietly she abides sorrow.

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Pretty Blackbirds

“You can make it,” I said to him.
I love you Black Sparrow
you who were a hero in some revolution
mother fucker got
shot down.
I guess God meant it all.
butterflies and ants
I told her, “Look.  Get the fuck away from me.”
nobody ever called her name.
nobody ever called my name.
She Will See This.
Don’t be ashamed of death.
but they don’t understand.
they will never see
I can still hear their screams.

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La Caja

El me dijo que ha estado viviendo dentro de una caja.
Que todos sus tesoros mas preciados,
libros y poesía se ahogaban bajo las manos de carton.
Que sufrieron en ese lugar esperando a ser olvidados, asustados y solos.
Pero nunca podría olvidar los.
Un hombre nunca se olvida de su amante mas fiel.
Estaba terriblemente frio afuera.
Un invierno de muerte y caos.
Y el no era dueño de un abrigo.
Sin dinero y frio sostenía el dulce cigarro en sus labios
mientras escuchaba la agonia sus huesos estaban gritando
que mordían su carne hasta que sus manos temblaban.
A pesar del dolor el mantuvo su mascara sin emocion en su rostro.
Ojos cansados alcanzando los espacios mas oscuros de la noche,
El anhelo de su amante enjaulada,
Atrapado en algún lugar de la materia oscura.
Por un momento trata de adivinar donde va a poner su cabeza cuando el sol amenace con salir.
Me dice que va a ir a casa.
Pero el sabe que no tiene un hogar.
Asi como se que todos los días se duerme dentro de una caja –
Una estructura hábilmente construida de madera y yeso,
De familia y recuerdos,
Lagrimas, gritos, y la ausencia de la risa.
Duerme ahi todos los días.
A pesar de que nunca duerme.
Ahi, en la casa que nunca fue un hogar.
Nunca seguro.
Nunca cuerdo.
El esta conmigo fumando.
Todo su amor oculto.
La vida metida en una caja de carton,
Como si estuviera haciendo alusión para escapar.
Rogándole a correr hacia cosas mejores.
Correr hacia el azar de la felicidad.
Pero el no esta seguro de si realmente hay un lugar al que puede escapar.
El no esta seguro  que hay un lugar seguro para su caja.
Estoy aquí le digo a mi amigo.
Tranquilo y para siempre.
Voy a cuidar la caja.
Estas seguro al escapar.
Te mereces mucho mas que un carton.
Y nunca tengo frio.

Diciembre 14, 2012

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Tu eres el sol y todavia me congelo
en tu resplandor
Fria y sola, veo tus brillantes rayos danzando en el cielo
Tu brillas resplandeciente y limpio
Pero eres ciego y no puedas ver que
estoy desesperada por calor y estoy sucia
asi que espero por el calor de la luna
su blanca luz me limpia
me recuerda que ser mujer es para sangrar
Asi que decidi por dormir durante el dia lejos del sol frio
de esa manera puedo bailar en la noche por siempre oculta de ti.

Diciembre 13, 2012

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Fear (Ghazal #1)

Absent moon and hollow the dark void of night rains silence.
Life fled and empty a wasteland of fear explains silence.

Desperately digging at solitude, soft heart freshly buried,
thick soil suffocation, sweet lack of air ordains silence.

Faint hope persuaded escape, could fingers grasp moving sky?
Frantic clawing drains desire, weary flesh gains silence.

Earth hard and unyielding, capacious field of cruelty!
Transcendent of help and dying, the ear disdains silence.

Panic stilled, oxygen of acceptance breathes radiance.
Death is the seed of all birth. Eyes closed, Tanya obtains silence.

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The Murder of a Tree (A Pantoum)

It was an accident, somber Autumn day, invisible tortured cries,
My five year old fingers had no way of knowing.
Sweet peeling of your wrinkled flesh, so hard and darkened with time and wisdom.
I just wanted to know who you were inside.

My five year old fingers had no way of knowing.
Hours of intimacy, me and you, removing your mask to see underneath, naked and pale.
I just wanted to know who you were inside.
Curious eyes fixed on your flesh, so pliable, underneath the smoothness of your soul so clean.

Hours of intimacy, me and you, removing your mask to see underneath, naked and pale.
Daddy came home. Daddy saw. Daddy shook. Daddy Screamed.
Curious eyes fixed on your flesh, so pliable, underneath the smoothness of your soul so clean.
The cracking sound of my soul opening to hear your voice, shrill and afraid, salt on my cheek.

Daddy came home. Daddy saw. Daddy shook. Daddy Screamed.
Agony driven tornados spinning around me penetrating my small frame, I only hear your pain.
The cracking sound of my soul opening up to hear your voice, shrill and afraid, salt on my cheek.
Tremors of terror shaking the clouds, my world spinning until Silence. The sun sets. Darkness.

Agony driven tornados spinning around me penetrating my small frame, I only hear your pain.
Decades of screams filling my dreams, the shedding of your leaves, rotting in the soil.
Tremors of terror shaking the clouds, my world spinning until Silence. The sun sets. Darkness.
All that remains is a shell, dark skeleton figure, a phantom of fear to the young who pass by.

Decades of screams filling my dreams, the shedding of your leaves, rotting in the soil.
It was an accident, somber Autumn day, invisible tortured cries.
All that remains is a shell, dark skeleton figure, a phantom of fear to the young who pass by.
Sweet peeling of your wrinkled flesh, so hard and darkened with time and wisdom.

My five year old fingers had no way of knowing.
I just wanted to know who you were inside.

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